In an interview with WGCU,  the former CEO of Lee Health, Jim Nathan, was asked to weigh in on “Free Market Healthcare”

QUESTION: Should we head towards a free market concept with healthcare, as proposed by President Trump?

ANSWER: I grew up in private business. I believe in free enterprise. I believe in competition. The reality is: in healthcare, because we have laws and social mores to care for people regardless of their financial status, we’ve got a real problem in going to a total free market system. No one really knows what the right thing is, but I do know this for a fact—when you follow the money, the entrepreneurial spirit will be to follow the most profitable cases, and leave for someone else the most complex: the uninsured and underinsured cases.

This is the debate that we face at the state and the national level—other industrialized and first-world countries have made the decision to provide healthcare in some way to all of their people. We do it through the backdoor, by waiting until somebody is so sick they come to the emergency room, rather than getting the kind of pre-care they have in these high deductible plans. By the time somebody is seriously ill, they don’t have enough cash to cover their deductible. So you raise a most critical issue that we face in our nation: with people debating that healthcare is not a right, it’s a privilege and others that say that it’s a right for everybody.

 

SOURCE: Excerpt from a WGCU interview with Jim Nathan on 5/19. Edited for clarity. This questions starts at 22:59. (http://news.wgcu.org/post/outgoing-lee-health-ceo-jim-nathan-reflects-four-decades-working-swfl-healthcare)

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